Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that as a lifelong fan, he is “deeply disappointed” by the Montreal Canadiens’ decision to draft Logan Mailloux — despite the player asking not to be drafted following a charge in Sweden for sharing non-consensual intimate images of a young woman.
“As a lifelong Habs fan I have to say I am deeply disappointed by the decision,” he said on Tuesday.
“I think it was a lack of judgment by the Canadiens organization. I think they have a lot of explaining to do.”
Ontario native Mailloux was charged and fined in Sweden last year after sharing a picture of himself and a young woman engaging in a sexual act.
Mailloux has admitted to sharing the photo and said he “deeply regrets” doing so.
What he did is a criminal offence in Canada and Mailloux himself had asked teams not to draft him ahead of the NHL draft pick that took place over the weekend.
“Being drafted into the NHL is an honour and a privilege that no one takes lightly,” he had said in a statement prior to the draft.
“The NHL draft should be one of the most exciting landmark moments in a player’s career, and given the circumstances, I don’t feel I have demonstrated strong enough maturity or character to earn that privilege in the 2021 draft.”
Despite that, the Montreal Canadiens’ general manager Marc Bergevin selected Mailloux and has since faced a firestorm of criticism for what advocates have warned sends a signal that “collectively, we do not take these [acts] seriously.”
Bergevin has defended the decision, with a statement issued by the team on Sunday night calling Mailloux a “promising” player.
“The Canadiens are aware of the situation and by no means minimize the severity of Logan’s actions. Logan understands the impact of his actions,” the team statement continued.
However, advocates against sexual violence say the decision sends a clear message that the team does not take the conduct seriously.
“We consider that [this falls] in line with rape culture,” said Roxanne Ocampo-Picard from the Regroupement québécois des centres d’aide et de lutte contre les agressions à caractère sexuel (RQCALACS).View link »
Quebec’s Minister in charge of the Status of Women, Isabelle Charest, said in a tweet she was surprised and disappointed by the draft of Mailloux despite his conviction.
Charest said it “does not at all go the direction of positive culture change.”
Québec solidaire spokesperson Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois also took to Twitter in reaction on Saturday and said many young boys dream of playing professional hockey, and the team’s draft of someone charged with a sex crime sends the message that “you can degrade women and still merit a place in our organization.”
Director of the Federation of women’s shelters of Quebec, Manon Monastesse, said the team should demand more than just words from the young player.
Monastesse said Mailloux should suffer direct consequences — such as hours of community service or paying a sum of his future salary to centres that support victims of sexual violence.
Monastesse added that she worries what message this story will send to young boys and girls.
With files from La Presse Canadienne and Global’s Alessia Simona Maratta.